A prototype is a sample model or preliminary version of the final product. It represents an initial version of an app in the pre-development stage.
User acceptance is the key to application success. Therefore, you should consult with your end-users before developing the app.
Prototypes have evolved over the years. Initially, prototypes were simply diagrams. Thus, their use was limited to mapping the frontend. After realizing that a static prototype was not very useful, interactive prototypes became a trend in the application development industry.
The Benefits of Interactive Prototypes
Here are the benefits that the best app developers derive from prototypes.
Prototypes are an excellent tool for bridging the gap between user requirements and what results. Interactive prototypes should be as close to the final product as possible, allowing you to get a natural feel for it.
Tthe customer can adequately evaluate the user experience. Thus, prototypes give developers a tool to assess the relevance of the project's UX as perceived by them and customers.
Thus, prototyping is a great way to clarify project requirements and clarify unclear or confusing areas of user requirements.
The prototype gives a visualization of the product to all stakeholders at a stage where they can voice their opinions and suggest the changes they need in the final product. Without the prototype, stakeholders would have to wait for the developed product to realize that it didn't meet their expectations.
And if stakeholders suggest changes after the entire product has been developed, it's a huge waste of time and resources. What's more, sometimes implementing changes means redesigning the entire product.
If a prototype is presented to stakeholders before product development begins, it allows them to get an idea of the product before it is developed. And any changes they suggest are then incorporated into the final product when it is already developed.
Prototyping, as mentioned above, is the best way to get feedback from stakeholders. And because the prototype is good at describing features and functions, the feedback is more objective, accurate, and comprehensive.
Prototyping is also a way to test a design and reveal any flaws in the idea. Fresh ideas can be generated at this stage. If necessary, the client can change their requirements after it appears that certain aspects of the product have been misunderstood or misinterpreted.
Evaluate the Design for Flaws
Prototypes help developers evaluate design flaws and assess problem areas that may arise during the development process. This helps them identify missing features and functions. They are then incorporated into the final product. Prototyping, therefore, is a risk-reduction activity that minimizes the possibility of a product failure during or after development.
Limitations of Prototypes
While interactive prototypes have so many advantages, we can't ignore their limitations before deciding if they are worth our time and budget.
Prototyping is undoubtedly a time-consuming process. And it requires the involvement of designers who specialize in prototyping.
Often developers see prototyping as slowing down the product development process. As another step is added to the product development cycle, the cycle slows down as well.
A prototype is only as good as its designer. The most significant limitation of a prototype is that if the designer is unable to translate customer requirements into an accurate prototype, then the entire purpose of prototyping is meaningless.
Prototyping can be expensive. There are free prototyping programs and tools available, but you will have to spend a lot of time evaluating the best prototyping software to meet your requirements. Therefore, you can't ignore the cost of time spent on research.
Moreover, you will have to dedicate a specialist to prototyping. As mentioned above, if the prototype is poorly designed, all efforts will be in vain.
Interactive prototypes are an essential part of a successful project. Prototyping is critical for projects that require user participation, feedback, and revision. For a user-centric digital project to be successful, you must consider the time and budget requirements of a prototype.
Similarly, prototypes are desirable when working with a new client to prevent misunderstandings. Last but not least, if you want your customers to pre-order your product, a prototype will benefit you immensely!
Developing the perfect interactive prototype isn't easy. Sodeira Solutions offers interactive prototyping as part of its UX design services.